Trump administration secretly moving US special forces closer to Venezuela, Cuba claims

Recent events amount to failed coup attempts, says 'Declaration of the Revolutionary Government'

Samuel Osborne
Thursday 14 February 2019 18:11 GMT
Venezuela's Maduro claims 'warmongering' Trump administration controlled by KKK

Cuba has accused the US of secretly moving special forces closer to Venezuela as part of a plan to intervene under the pretext of a humanitarian crisis.

A “Declaration of the Revolutionary Government” said recent events in the country amounted to a coup attempt that had so far failed.

Donald Trump‘s administration has been trying to pressure the country’s beleaguered president Nicolas Maduro to step down and hand over the reins of power to Juan Guaido, the head of Venezuela’s National Assembly.

Mr Guaido invoked the country’s constitution three weeks ago to become interim president, arguing Mr Maduro’s re-election last year was a sham.

These events, the Cuban declaration said, had led the US to impose drastic sanctions causing “1,000 times greater” damage than the aid it is trying to force on the country.

“Between February 6 and 10 military transport aircraft have flown to the Rafael Miranda Airport of Puerto Rico, the San Isidro Air Base, in the Dominican Republic and to other strategically located Caribbean islands, probably without knowledge of the governments of those nations,” the declaration alleged.

“These flights originated in American military installations from which units of Special Operations and Marine Corps operate, which are used for covert actions,” it said.

Venezuela, a major producer of oil, is tumbling through a severe economic crisis with six-figure inflation wreaking havoc on the livelihoods of residents and sending an estimated three million refugees searching for sustenance in neighbouring countries.

Venezuela: Maduro blockades bridge to stop humanitarian aid entering country

Cuba has been a key backer of the Venezuelan government since what is called the Bolivarian Revolution began under former leader Hugo Chavez in 1998.

However, most Western and Latin American countries, including the US, have recognised Mr Guaido as the country’s legitimate head of state and pledged millions of pounds of humanitarian aid in support.

On Tuesday, Mr Guaido said the aid would roll across the border with Colombia and Brazil on 23 February despite Mr Maduro’s objections, setting the stage for a potential confrontation.

Cuba said it was clear the US wanted to “forcibly establish a humanitarian corridor under international protection, invoking the obligation to protect civilians and applying all necessary measures”.

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It comes after Venezuela’s opposition-controlled congress appointed a new board of directors for the country’s state-oil firm (PDVSA), in a move Mr Guaido hopes will wrest control of the nation’s massive oil reserves from Mr Maduro.

Mr Guaido will need funds if he is to assemble an interim government, and controlling Citgo, the oil firm’s US subsidiary and most valuable foreign asset, would go some way towards fulfilling that requirement.

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